On a projected 53-man roster loaded with question marks, the Redskins running back group actually presents some strong options.
Redskins Depth Chart Reviews: Quarterback| Tight end | Wide Receiver
He might not steal the headlines going into training camp, but Adrian Peterson proved he can still get the job done in a 2018 season where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and more than four yards-per-carry in 16 games. Peterson was the Redskins best offensive player in 2018, and the team re-signed him this offseason because of his impact on the field and the locker room last year.
At 34-years-old it might sound crazy, but Peterson might be the most dependable Redskins offensive player. Based on his play last year, if he gets the same amount of carries and offensive activity, it seems a reasonable proposition he could produce at the same levels. That can't be said for many other players in Burgundy and Gold.
That doesn't mean there isn't more talent at the running back position.
Chris Thompson has proven his ability in parts of the last four seasons, though injuries have been a persistent issue for the third-down back. Last year, Thompson played in just 10 games, though he averaged more than five yards-per-touch when he was on the field. Washington head coach Jay Gruden trusts Thompson in pressure situations, and not just for his ability with the ball in his hands, but because he's tremendous in pass protection.
Then there's the wild card: Derrius Guice.
This time last year, Guice was the story of the Redskins 2018 offseason. An elite talent at LSU, he slipped in the draft to the second round, and the Redskins selected him to shore up their run game.
He looked great during OTAs and training camp, but injured his knee in the second preseason game in New England. Peterson was signed after that as Guice went through surgery, a post-surgery infection, and now continues to rehab his injured knee.
Here's the thing though: Guice looks great. He's posted numerous videos and pictures on social media during his recovery and looks ready to go. The Redskins need to be very smart bringing Guice back, both to maximize his impact in 2019 but also for the future.
If Guice is all the way back this season, the Redskins could have a dynamic run game. The team should use Peterson, Guice and Thompson in significant roles, and keep fresh legs with both the more traditional backs and spell them with speed and pass catching ability on third down.
The conversation doesn't end there.
Washington added Stanford RB Bryce Love in the fourth round of the draft. He's an electric playmaker, but he injured his knee late last year. He seems likely to open the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but could potentially join the squad in the second half of the 2019 season.
Don't forget about Samaje Perine, either. At the NFL League Meetings in Arizona, Gruden spent about five minutes talking up the former University of Oklahoma star.
"Samaje has not gotten the opportunities, I'm upset about that, it's my fault. But I have not given up on Samaje," Gruden said. "He's young, he's strong, he's physical. I need to see him take that next step and I got to give him that opportunity to do that. It's going to be hard with Guice and AP in there to get him the ball, but he deserves an opportunity to get the ball, and I got to figure out a way to get him the ball."
What makes Gruden's soliloquy a bit weird is that Perine was only active in five games last season. He had eight carries. Let it be noted too Gruden's comments came before the team selected Love in the draft. The Redskins also retained Byron Marshall's rights in restricted free agency. He made the team last year before an immediate shift to the injured reserve, and while Gruden seems to like him, his most memorable moments from the 2018 season aren't on the highlight reel. He missed a tackle on a punt return touchdown in Jacksonville, and worse than that, missed a block on the play that saw Alex Smith break his leg.
The Redskins have kept four running backs out of camp the last two seasons, but with an increased need on keeping three quarterbacks, it will be much harder to load up in the backfield.
Peterson, Guice and Thompson are roster locks. If all three stay healthy, that trio sounds like the most talented position group on the Redskins offense.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Wide Receiver: A major question mark for 'Skins
- Haskins Starting Soon?: History points toward yes
- Well-earned promotion: Kyshoen Jarrett picks up a new title
- Weak Spots: Three problems for Redskins